No Shortcuts to a Better Life

I’m not going easy on you today. Why? Because everybody needs a wake-up call now and then. So I’m here to tell you, there are no shortcuts to a better life. And as difficult as your life might be right now; as tired as you are from all your struggles, there is hope.

Change is never easy because it takes so much effort. I don’t know about you, but I would rather struggle to change my life for the better, then just continue to struggle with no hope for a better life. Think about it. If you’re going to struggle either way, you may as well be focused on taking actions that will improve your life.

What Path Are You On?

There are really only two paths in life, 1) the path of least resistance, and 2) the path of change.  So let’s take a look at the qualities of each path so you can decide which path you want to be on.

The Path of Least Resistance

  • This path can be really easy.
  • You just take what life throws at you and keep taking it unceasingly.
  • You can fill your time with wishing for a better life, knowing that you’ll never get it.
  • You can ruminate on the fights you’ve had, the state of your finances, how lonely you are, how trapped you feel, how your life is not your own, how powerless you feel, etc.
  • You don’t have to worry about tomorrow because it will be just like today, which is pretty convenient.
  • If suffering is your thing, then sit back and enjoy it, because you’ll probably get more of it.
  • Your life can run on auto-pilot…after all, why change your behavior when you’re already used to chaos, stress, misery, hopelessness, despair, depression, and many other emotions that you’ve practiced for so long; emotions that you’ve mastered and no longer have to even think about.
  • No instructions are needed, no batteries required, and no fancy gadgets are necessary.
  • If you’re addicted to anything, you can stop listening to people who are bugging you to quit because that requires that you modify and practice new behaviors…more effort.
  • The only bad habits you should watch out for are ambition and motivation–you don’t need ’em.

Now let’s take a peek at path number 2.

The Path of Change

  • It takes a lot of effort…it’s tough…really tough.
  • Your struggles eventually lead to a better life, instead of more of the same thing.
  • Your self-esteem will improve.
  • You’re confidence will improve.
  • You’re ability to handle challenges will improve.
  • You’ll see solutions where you once only saw obstacles.
  • People will notice a change in you and begin to help you.
  • You will become goal-oriented and focused on creating a better life for yourself.
  • Your happiness level will skyrocket.
  • You’ll meet amazing people.
  • You’ll end up healthier.
  • Many people will be supportive of you and your goals.
  • You will find your lost energy and enthusiasm for life.
  • You’ll find the strength within you to shape your life, one decision and one step at a time.
  • You will believe in yourself again.
  • You will realize that the struggles and challenges you experience can make you a stronger and better person.
  • You can breathe again.
  • You will discover that there are like-minded people all around you and you can reach out for their support.
  • You’ll never again want to go back to following the path of least resistance.
  • The pain in your heart will be replaced with gratitude, hope, peace and joy.
  • Your life will never be the same again…and this is a good thing, a very good thing.

If you’re happy on the path of least resistance, then by all means, stay there. But before you decide, ask yourself if it’s getting you where you want to go. So many people choose the path of least resistance because it’s so familiar to them. In fact, they’re so used to this behavior that it’s automatic.

At least with the path of least resistance, the painful life that you may be living is so familiar, so predictable that you can simply sleep-walk through your it and maybe even become numb to the pain. Stepping onto the path of change is scary, confusing, and filled with challenges and new experiences. Change is such a huge mountain of unfamiliar behavior that the stress caused by leaving the path of least resistance far outweighs the certainty and predictability that staying on the path brings. Although, the path of least resistance tends to be more of a long-term, sustained level of stress that never seems to go away completely.

What Now?

So there you have it. That’s just a very short snapshot of the two paths. Each list could be much longer, but I think you get the idea. So are you on the right path? Well, if you’re on the path of least resistance, but you’d rather be on the path of change, what should you do?

First, read 14 Simple Statements That Can Change Your Perspective on Life to get some perspective. Next, you have to make a conscious decision to take responsibility for your thoughts. No one can make you think any thoughts against your will. And all negative thoughts about who you are and what you’re capable of are FALSE; they are lies meant to keep you from making meaningful changes in your life. Moving over to the path of change can only take place by putting one foot in front of the other. But each step is rooted in your thoughts, in your beliefs about yourself.

Please understand that I am not trying to make light of the challenges you’re facing. I’m only trying to express something that hard to accept when you’re hurting; when you feel like the whole world is caving in all around you. There is still light in the world, no matter how dark your world seems right now. And however small your first steps are, they are probably the most powerful steps you’ll ever take. Because you are regaining your ability to think for yourself; the ability to make your own choices in life. Think about what your present circumstances are doing to you. No amount of suffering WITH other people will be enough for them to be satisfied; for them to release you from obligations that make you feel trapped. You have to take your own initiative. And the best way to help those around you is to make your life better so that you, then, have the capacity to lead them to where you are.

The final step you must take to start walking the path of change is…to choose it.

 

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